The book of Nehemiah begins in Persia, about 500 years before Christ. Nehemiah—a Jewish man—was a cupbearer to the king of Persia. For nearly 70 years, the Jews had been held captive—first by the Babylonians, then by the Persians. During this time, the city of Jerusalem lay in ruins, having been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.

Nehemiah was a man of unusual courage. He asked the king of Persia for permission to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The king agreed and Nehemiah went to work. It wasn't an easy task. Nehemiah faced intimida­tion, ridicule, even threats of violence. But under his leadership, the project was finished in less than two months.

For people who face problems today, Nehemiah of­fers an example well worth considering. Step by step, Nehemiah overcame the obstacles in his path and reached his goal—the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. The book of Nehemiah ends with a dramatic celebration in which the people marched around the city on top of the new walls.

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